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Inaccurate stability calculations caused capsize NTSB report

Vehicle carrier Golden Ray

It was announced by the US National Transportation Safety Board Office of Safety Recommendations and Communications in Washington on 14 September that inaccurate stability calculations caused the capsizing of vehicle carrier Golden Ray that resulted in $200 million worth of damages. It is understood that more than 4,100 vehicles were lost in the accident.

The US NTSB Marine Accident Report details the Board’s investigation of the 8 September 2019 capsizing of the roll-on/roll-off vehicle carrier Golden Ray as it transited outbound through St Simons Sound near Brunswick, Georgia.

All 23 crewmembers and one pilot on board were rescued, including four engineering crew who were trapped in the vessel for nearly 40 hours. Two crew members sustained serious injuries. Golden Ray sustained significant damage due to fire, flooding and saltwater corrosion and was declared a total loss estimated at $62.5 million. An estimated $142 million worth of cargo was also lost.

Less than 40 minutes after leaving port, the 656 ft loa Golden Ray began to heel rapidly to port during a 68 degree turn to starboard. Despite attempts by the pilot and crew to counter the heel, the rate of turn to starboard increased, and the vessel reached a heel of 60 degrees to port in under a minute before it grounded outside of the channel.

The NTSB determined the probable cause of the capsizing of Golden Ray was the chief officer’s error entering ballast quantities into the stability calculation programme, which led to his incorrect determination of the vessel’s stability and resulted in Golden Ray having an insufficient righting arm to counteract the forces developed during a turn while transiting outbound from the Port of Brunswick through St Simons Sound. Contributing to the accident was G-Marine Service Co. Ltd.’s (the vessel’s operator) lack of effective procedures in their safety management system for verifying stability calculations.

The NTSB concluded that Golden Ray did not meet international stability standards at departure and possessed less stability than the chief officer calculated.

According to the NTSB, after the vessel capsized, open watertight doors allowed flooding into the vessel, which blocked the primary egress from the engine room, where four crewmembers were trapped. Two watertight doors had been left open for almost two hours before the accident. No one on the bridge ensured that the doors were closed before departing the port.

The report said: ‘The circumstances of this accident show that even when transiting in protected waters, watertight integrity is critical to the safety of the vessel and its crew. It is essential that the operator ensure that crews verify that all watertight doors are closed in accordance with safety management system procedures.

As a result of its investigation, the NTSB issued two safety recommendations to G-Marine Service Co. Ltd to:

  1. Revise its safety management system to establish procedures for verifying stability calculations and implement audit procedures to ensure their vessels meet stability requirements before leaving the port; and
  2. Revise its safety management system audit process to verify crew adherence to the Arrival/Departure Checklist regarding the closure of watertight doors.

The public docket for the investigation contains more than 1,700 pages of factual information, including interview transcripts, photographs and other investigative materials and is available online at https://go.usa.gov/xFKfT

The Marine Accident Report is available here:   https://go.usa.gov/xMWcn ​ 

Picture caption

Stern view of Golden Ray six hours after the heeling event. Flame and smoke emanate from cargo decks on the starboard side of the vessel.

 

Photo reproduced by kind courtesy of the US Coast Guard ©.

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The International Harbour Masters’ Association (IHMA) reports that Commodore Barry Goldman will be stepping down later this year from the role of IHMA representative to the IALA VTS Committee.

In late-September IHMA’s governing body, the Executive Committee (ExCo) appointed Captain Michael Trent, an Associate Member of IHMA since 2019, as Commodore Goldman’s successor on the IALA VTS Committee. At the same time ExCo recorded its thanks to him for his excellent work on behalf of IHMA.

Commodore Goldman will step down at the end of the year following the IMO Assembly in December when it is expected a new draft IMO VTS Resolution will be adopted.

This webinar will feature nine technical presentations, ranging from the design and planning of port and coastal infrastructure to sustainability and climate change in waterborne transport.

PIANC (www.pianc.org ) advises that for this opportunity, enthusiastic Young Professionals of five continents covering the Americas, the Asia-Pacific region and Europe-Africa are lined up to cater for your interest and to achieve wide knowledge sharing.

Beyond that, the global event strives to gather everyone who is related to the waterborne transport industry prior to the return of signature in-person events at PIANC next year. 

On behalf of YP PIANC, an invitation is extended to all, Members and Non-Members, with the encouragement to register for the event through the link here:

https://live.eventtia.com/en/pianc_yp_2021/REGISTER/

You can select to attend your preferred presentation or the full two-day event at no cost.

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PIANC’s Environment Commission (EnviCom) and the Navigating a Changing Climate partners are collaborating to run a workshop entitled Working with Nature for Climate-Resilient Ports and Waterways.  This workshop builds on a 2021 workshop run by Navigating a Changing Climate with SedNet (https://sednet.org/) focused on sediment management and climate change.  

Two sessions are planned on consecutive days, each 2 hours long, allowing for keynote presentations, case studies, and facilitated round-table discussions. 

The workshop Working with Nature for Climate-Resilient Ports and Waterways is designed to facilitate knowledge exchange, disseminate good practice, highlight opportunities, and identify gaps in understanding or research needs in relation to the following sessions: 

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The International Harbour Masters’ Association (IHMA) reports that Commodore Barry Goldman will be stepping down later this year from the role of IHMA… FIND OUT MORE

PIANC Young Professional Event 2021 PIANC Young Professional (YP) International Virtual Event 2021 16-17 November 2021

This webinar will feature nine technical presentations, ranging from the design and planning of port and coastal infrastructure to sustainability and… FIND OUT MORE

Latest News & Events

The International Harbour Masters’ Association (IHMA) reports that Commodore Barry Goldman will be stepping down later this year from the role of IHMA representative to the IALA VTS Committee.

In late-September IHMA’s governing body, the Executive Committee (ExCo) appointed Captain Michael Trent, an Associate Member of IHMA since 2019, as Commodore Goldman’s successor on the IALA VTS Committee. At the same time ExCo recorded its thanks to him for his excellent work on behalf of IHMA.

Commodore Goldman will step down at the end of the year following the IMO Assembly in December when it is expected a new draft IMO VTS Resolution will be adopted.

This webinar will feature nine technical presentations, ranging from the design and planning of port and coastal infrastructure to sustainability and climate change in waterborne transport.

PIANC (www.pianc.org ) advises that for this opportunity, enthusiastic Young Professionals of five continents covering the Americas, the Asia-Pacific region and Europe-Africa are lined up to cater for your interest and to achieve wide knowledge sharing.

Beyond that, the global event strives to gather everyone who is related to the waterborne transport industry prior to the return of signature in-person events at PIANC next year. 

On behalf of YP PIANC, an invitation is extended to all, Members and Non-Members, with the encouragement to register for the event through the link here:

https://live.eventtia.com/en/pianc_yp_2021/REGISTER/

You can select to attend your preferred presentation or the full two-day event at no cost.